New fashion companies are being opened in Malaysia day after day. Let’s say, this fact means both: the willing of people to work for beauty and also the possibility of population of the country to buy such goods as well as the increased demand for fashion products.
That’s why I wanted to talk to young designers, forming now the fashion space of the region.
My first interlocutor is one of designers of «Meraki» company – the atelier opened just two months ago.
Ingrida: What style do you suggest to your clients?
Meraki representative: Well, we combine Eastern and Muslim style – we do feel the growing interest to such clothes in Europe as well – with Anime. This combination is interesting not only for young people, but for elder generation also.
Ingrida: So you are targeting to mass market isn’t it? Is it successful?
Meraki representative: Yes. For example two months ago we already participated in the London modest fashion week – and it was not the first time of our participation in the events of the sort.
Ingrida: Does it mean that you can call your brand the international one?
Meraki representative: We are inspired to be. The name of our new brand illustrates it.
Ingrida: And what is the name?
Meraki representative: It is Melon. In this name ME is for Meraki and LON for London. The collections under this brand look really international and we plan to show them un New York soon.
Ingrida: What is the reaction of Western public to Asian fashion trends? Can you compare?
Meraki representative: You know, the European fashion industry always was influenced be the East. It is the historic tradition. So we do not feel uncomfortable there. And the public likes our work. Now we look up to Milan, to London again, to Paris – these places form the center of the world fashion industry. And Asia now cross the boundaries becoming international.
Ingrida: Tell me more about your impressions of London fashion week.
Meraki representative: First of all – people there are very supportive. We have brought there the collection of street-wear and our main target was the market of young Muslims living in Europe. But native Europeans also met us with great enthusiasm and it was an inspiring impression. I think some of them were a little surprised with the fact that Malaysia also have participated the world fashion industry.
Ingrida: Let’s explain why the name of the company is Meraki.
Meraki representative: Well, we liked that the word has many meanings in different languages and all of them are positive. For example in Greece this word means “authentic” and in Turkey its meaning is “intelligent”. Let’s say that it is important because our targets are both the modest market with its casual style for everyday usage and luxury fashion as well. Also I have to notice that our “street fashion” also has elements of high design and its clients are persons from all levels of income.
Another designer of the company joins our talk – her name is Nancy Jullok.
Ingrida: Can we say that Asia now starts to assert its own rules in the world of fashion?
Nancy Jullok: Sure we can. We are inspired by European fashion traditions, but it is very noticeable, that Europe is also inspired by Asia now – with our traditions, our culture and our fashion as the sum of them. Just look: Guo Pei – the designer from China – is today one of the most known haute-couture fashion designers in the world!
Ingrida: You have mentioned China. Do you contact it somehow in your work? Maybe for stuff hiring or else?
Nancy Jullok: I have been to China a month ago and I found there many things that opened my eyes to their fashion industry. First – most materials for the world fashion are produced there. They make their own beads, fabric – fabulous fabric – and really rise inside the world fashion and rise the world fashion as well.
Next topic we discuss with Norita Anis, shoes designer
Ingrida: What is the basic difference between shoes you design and those that are typical for European customers?
Norita Anis: Hidha shoes are designed to create wave in the Muslimah World with emphasis on comfort, quality and the awrat. It is a modern and stylish Muslimah Footwear with socks and can be worn by any women around the world. Our shoes are decorated with beads, lace or swarovski stones as the finishing touch. Most of Hidha shoes are made of synthetic leather or PVC some designs with lamb leather along with fabrics that are stretchable and thin. So it is comfortable to be worn anytime as it is being styled for day or night, casual or formal. We are ready to present them internationally.
Ingrida: What do you think about New York and its place in the world fashion?
Norita Anis: You know – we are trying to make our clothes modest and fashionable the same time. And New York is the right place to understand how it is to be done. New Yorkers are very fashionable people wherever they are situated – at work, in the street or at the party.
Ingrida: Does it mean that you think more about the street fashion?
Norita Anis: We are looking for our own style. And we do not want to make clothes just like baju kurung – our plan is to become the large and various company like H&M or UNIQLO. That’s why our work includes both – personal work with client and ready-to-wear clothes production.
Ingrida: How many designers work for your company?
Norita Anis: We have two brands and this is a complicated work for the team – not for one person.
Ingrida: Does your company work like European fashion designers do: at least two collection a year – for summer and for winter?
Norita Anis: Since we started to join European fashion shows we started preparing things for two seasons. We do special researches because we want our items be useful during a full year in complete.
Ingrida: And what do you think about fashion in Russia?
Norita Anis: I don’t know too much about it. Though I do know, that in Russia there is also a fashion week every year. And I like also some designers from Baltic side.
Ingrida: But still you prepare your company for international market?
Norita Anis: For sure. It is a dream for any designer to penetrate into fashion market abroad. For Malaysian designers it is still very difficult – nearly impossible – but each of us hopes that one day this dream will come true.
The question about the promotion and advertizing answers Kiran Prakash ELEVATE and Anis and the representative of Bujins Gallery.
Ingrida: Tell us, please, about your brand conception
Anis: Batik through and through. As our tagline states, we are passionate about the art of batik making. It is a cultural representation of Malaysia’s kaleidoscopic society that is very much valued.Our batik-making process requires intricacy, creativity, passion and determination as everything is hand-drawn from scratch.Bujins Academy is the platform for us to give back to our society by partnering up with universities, community colleges, local organizations and even individuals to teach batik making skills. Through this initiative, this cultural art is preserved. Not only that, we are able to help individuals make a living through their skills. Students of Bujins Academy have also won several Piala Seri Endon competitions, a prestigious award that celebrates the art of batik.
Ingrida: Does international network help to realize your plans? To promote and get support?
Kiran Prakash: Yes, in the last five years, social media has been a huge impact to the fashion industry. We also promote our brands in Facebook and Instagram widely. This has given a great impact for our brands.
Ingrida: What are your ways to cooperate with social network?
Representative of Bujins Gallery: Two main ways usually. First is to cooperate with well known and famous Internet persons – we donate their activities, and they put our advertizing to their pages. The other way is to improve our own pages and use special hash tags like #fashion, #street style and others of the sort.
Ingrida: Tell about your conception?
Kiran Prakash: ELEVATE is Malaysian. We make and market handmade ladies clutches. ELEVATE products are handmade by skilled artisans under the direction of Ms. Kiran Tuljaram -Prakash. Kiran designs and carefully selects colours & fabrics. Fabrics such as batik, raw silk and handweaves are used to make ELEVATE products. We also use lots of embroidery in our products.
Great emphasis is put on build and quality of the products. The lack of a variety of clutches in Malaysia motivated Kiran to co-found ELEVATE.
ELEVATE clutches are versatile. Some of our clutches can be worn day and night — casually (using the cross body option) or clutched elegantly in an evening out. We want our clutches to be conversational pieces when carried. It pops. It stands out.
For the New York runway, a new exciting range will be revealed. New designs & colours.
Our products are currently sold online at www.elevateshine.com and at Robinsons, the Gardens, Kuala Lumpur. We use social media platforms such as Facebook & Instagram to advertise our clutches and to create awareness of our brand.
Adli Afandi participates the conversation
Ingrida: Are there any international designers you follow?
Adli Afandi: in here we often follow Sculi Hedgehog from New York , Meda Pudri from France, Jegga Norse from France etc. It is very important to study using top examples that are close to your own understanding of style and fashion. So we look after them and their trends.
Ingrida: Well, so you are preparing your company for participation in world fashion movement. What main difficulties you meet on this way?
Adli Afandi: It’s a hard thing to start something new. Usually our designers participate shows in China, in Dubai, in London. But it is costs a lot to cross the Ocean and participate in designers show in New York. One need to look for sponsors and investors. And you never can know exactly what will you meet in new places and if your new contacts will allow you to get the payback. So after you solve the problems with forming your creative team, you are to make the next step – to financial stability and growth. And that is the only way to work all around the globe.
Ingrida: Can you tell us, what is your main hope?
Adli Afandi: I just hope that when our designs come to non-Indigenous people wearing Indigenous designs, they appreciate the history behind the garments and accessories.